Survival of the fittest applies to economics as well as biology – in fact, some would argue the concept is better applied to the financial arena than any other area of study. Unfortunately, it’s a fact few Americans want to face head on… it goes against the steady diet of “American ingenuity” and the (false) belief that any child born in the good old USA can grow up to be anything they want. While there are exceptions to every rule, survival of the fittest is an economic trend currently undergoing the equivalent of an ice-age extinction as one era gives rise to an entirely new one. Research by consulting firm McKinsey found a few unsettling statistics that demonstrate the depth of the problem:
Over 70 percent of currently employed Americans work in jobs for which there is low or declining demand. This includes both blue collar and white collar. Competition for jobs that cannot be shipped overseas (healthcare for example) has created high competition which is driving down wages and promoting part-time, per diem, and other “job sharing” situations.
Mainstream stores are doing double-takes as consumers shift spending habits. Not only are brick and mortar stores under heavy competition from online retailers like Amazon but the bleak economy is finally taking a toll. Violating one of the core marketing principles ‘never undercut your own product', heavy weights ranging from Proctor & Gamble to Macy's are rolling out discount versions of their more expensive popular items. Cost of Tide got you down? Don’t worry, you can now buy Tide Basic…a discount version. Research shows 1/2 of Americans have already reduced spending and 1/3 plan to do so permanently with 18 percent of consumers switching from name brands to generics in the past two years alone.
So, how are Americans spending their money both today and into the near future?